With the deal with the private equity firm, the shapewear brand is now valued at $1.2 billion, the companies announced Wednesday.
Sara Blakely, the founder and chief executive of Spanx, will maintain a significant stake in the company and will oversee the company’s daily operations as executive chairwoman.
Blakely founded Spanx in 2000 and helped pioneer today’s shapewear industry. Spanx made between $300 million to $400 million in revenue in the last year, according to the New York Times, which reported that the company was shopping for buyers back in June.
Blackstone’s stake in Spanx underscores the opportunity investors see in shapewear, as apparel sales pick up post-pandemic. Sales of women’s underwear, including shapewear, hit $9.8 billion in 2020, according to Euromonitor. In addition to Spanx, there’s Kim Kardashian’s Skims, which earned a reported $145 million in 2020 and boasts a valuation of $1.6 billion after its last funding round.
Since Spanx first debuted its form-squeezing tanks and shorts, the industry has also undergone an evolution. The body positivity movement influenced the shapewear market, which pivoted its messaging from hiding bodies to accentuating them.
“While shapewear used to be used to compress one’s body, it is now used to enhance one’s shape and maximise comfort,” Ayako Homma, a beauty and fashion consultant at Euromonitor, told BoF.
Spanx’s shapewear can also serve as an entry point for the brand, added Santaniello. Over the years, Spanx has expanded into denim, leggings and swimwear, and Blackstone likely sees an opportunity to grow the brand’s reach within fashion.
“Shapewear now has a permanent space in our wardrobe,” said Gabriella Santaniello, founder of retail research firm A-Line Partners. “Spanx, Skims, these are not your mother’s shapewear companies. It doesn’t have to be painful and provides solutions. They make shoppers feel more secure and comfortable.”